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Honor MLK’s legacy with disruption

In order for us as global citizens of this world to sincerely honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, it is imperative that we remember Dr. King for his stance on all issues, not only the ones which are Instagram worthy, or which can be easily manipulated and tweaked to result in a rise in popularity within the political and social sphere. 

 It is crucial that we, as engaged individuals within not only this country, but the world, disturb what is seen as status quo throughout society. Sincerely honoring Dr. King’s legacy requires us to do our own research on him. To go beyond his “I Have A Dream” speech. One of Dr. King’s most impactful speeches is his speech against the Vietnam War. 

I encourage every individual reading this viewpoint to take some time to either read or listen to Dr. King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” This speech is one of, if not the most, controversial speeches by Dr. King. Following this speech, Dr. King was villainized and alienated by many, even by those who once stood at his side. 

This information may be surprising to some in our generation, as we have largely come to the consensus that the Vietnam War was a tragedy in American history. However, when Dr. King gave that speech, it was seen as a divisive topic of discussion. Nevertheless, Dr. King knew that actions conducted by the United States government were not truthfully just, nor was it striving towards what we define as morally just. 

Throughout Dr. King’s life, he fought for injustices which were seen as radical, and numerous people disapproved of him. Yet now, we believe that the majority of his philosophies are morally right. It was courageous for Dr. King to speak out not only against the War in Vietnam, but also poverty and racial discrimination in the United States. 

In order for us to authentically honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, we must adopt the courage that Dr. King possessed and speak out against injustices throughout our lives. We must not turn our heads from injustices occurring during our lifetime that often stir controversy. 

During this extremely divisive, hateful and, in all honesty, terrifying time in many countries — not just the United States — we as global citizens must challenge the societies in which we exist. As Darnell Moore, the keynote speaker for this year’s Martin Luther King Day opening ceremony asked in his address, “What will you do, and how might you work to upset the status quo, to debunk propaganda and to bring about transformative justice? How will you respond to our individual and collective need to be honest, because honesty is a sign of love, especially as we bear witness as undeniable truths about the state of things are fashioned into lies and lies are propagated as global truths every day  —  as is the American way? What will you do bring about material freedom, equity, safety and, ultimately, radically loving and beloved community during a moment that is but a remix of white populist, nationalist political deception that masquerades as patriotism?”

Dr. King’s legacy consists of perseverance and courage. In order to sincerely honor Dr. King, we cannot be complacent individuals. We must continuously challenge ourselves, those who we love and care for and the institutions that exist within our societies. This is exactly what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did and this is one of the numerous reasons why he is remembered to this day. 

 

Monét Davis, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at MDavis19@wooster.edu.

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